Setting the Scene

Maximising the impacts of energy access on people's development opportunities

This digital seminar is the first in our series produced in cooperation with the ACCESS Coalition’s Learning Group, which focuses on how to maximise the development effects of energy access.

It is increasingly recognised that energy is inextricably linked to virtually all the SDGs. Although there is an active debate on the approach to take to accelerate achieving the universal energy access goal, there has been less focus on the question of how to maximise the development effects of energy access.

This first seminar sets the scene for the series by exploring – together with our speakers – those aspects that are crucial for maximising contributions to multiple SDGs.


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During the discussion, the role of access to clean energy was established as a key factor for enhancing people’s wellbeing, ensuring the effective functioning of crucial infrastructure and improving the environmental performance of energy systems. Deploying the synergies of energy access starts by recognising the strategies already used by a community.

Key aspects to consider for co-designing impactful energy interventions:

  • Promote the ownership of the projects
  • Maximise the potential for productive uses of energy
  • Facilitate the participation of vulnerable groups (e.g., young people and women)
  • Strengthen technical and non-technical capacities (e.g., via peer-to-peer exchanges)
The discussion also highlighted the importance of civil society organisations. These can facilitate multi-stakeholder dialogues and advocate for decentralised energy options – thus bridging the gap between communities and governments.

You can find the slides used in the seminar on the right hand side. Have a look at the next seminar of the series that focusses on Understanding Communities.

Further Materials:

An analysis by the WISIONS team of the actual contribution that small-scale energy projects can make to the sustainable development of households and communities:

An overview of the synergies and trade-offs of efforts to achieve SDG7 and the delivery of Agenda 2030 as a whole: A showcase study from the Small Grants Programme portfolio in which young people played a leading role in driving change towards sustainable development in their local situations. Energy access is a key component in many of these cases: This discussion paper is an excellent example of how civil society organisations can feed into and influence national policy in order to scale up progress towards SDG7 by taking into consideration the development priorities of local communities: This report provides an informative description of the different and crucial roles that civil society can play in transforming our energy systems into green and inclusive energy systems that catalyse development opportunities for all: This paper is the first to map the relationship between energy and the 169 targets from Agenda 2030 in a specific country and sector context by operationalising the framework developed in the aforementioned study:


Dr. Long Seng To
Joint Director of STEER at Loughborough University
Angelica Shamerina
Advisor GEF Small Grants Programme, UNDP
Grace Ronoh
Programme Officer ACCESS Coalition


Dr. Willington Ortiz | Senior Researcher Wuppertal Institute, WISIONS Inititative

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